After several years of teasing, Qualcomm has finally lifted the veil on its first chip designed for the PC thanks to a brand-new Oryon architecture: the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite. By 2024, several brands should be offering laptops equipped with this chip. For the time being, journalists have been able to try it out on two reference machines created by Qualcomm.
The brand has chosen its timing well, lifting the embargo on these first tests a few hours before the Apple conference. The latter is due to unveil its Apple M3 chip range, which could well take back the crown that Qualcomm is in the process of stealing.
A very powerful chip in benchmarks
Journalists attending the Snapdragon Summit were able to run a series of benchmarks on PCs prepared by Qualcomm.
Two configurations were demonstrated: the first was a “Config B” laptop with a 14″ OLED screen and a chip set to a TDP of 23W. The other is a more powerful “Config A” PC with a chip set to 80W and a 16.5-inch screen. In other words, PCs that would be competitors of sorts to Apple’s MacBook Pro. Both feature active ventilation.
Several media, such as Anandtech, have published the results of their own benchmark sessions. The results are in line with those put forward by Qualcomm. This makes sense, since Qualcomm controls the test environment. We’ll have to wait to see the first PCs on the market before each journalist can carry out his or her own tests. But it’s already interesting for the press to see how the machines perform in the selected benchmarks.
In single-core mode, Qualcomm’s new chip comes out ahead of its direct competitors, such as the Apple M2. It should be remembered, however, that the latter is Apple’s most affordable chip. It’s conceivable that an Apple M2 Pro or M2 Max would retain its top spot.
In the Cinebench test, the gap with Apple widens considerably. This is a multi-core test that pushes Qualcomm’s chip to the maximum of its 12 high-performance cores. As a reminder, the Apple M2 features 8 CPU cores, of which only 4 are high-performance.
The Wilflife Extreme test puts the spotlight on the SoC’s graphics. Here, Apple and Qualcomm are on an equal footing, well ahead of AMD and Intel on their SoCs. However, it would be interesting to be able to compare them with machines equipped with dedicated graphics chips, notably Nvidia’s GeForce.
The limits of this communication plan
Despite a very impressive demonstration on paper, some things need to be put into context. First of all, the first PCs equipped with a Snapdragon X Elite chip aren’t expected until mid-2024. By that time, Apple M3 machines will have long been on the market, and we should even be starting to hear about Apple M4 chips. Similarly, AMD and Intel should have time to prepare a new generation of chips for this
Snapdragon X Elite.
Furthermore, the main obstacle to the adoption of a Snapdragon X Elite-based machine today remains the lack of adaptation of Windows to ARM platforms. The chips developed by Qualcomm are highly sophisticated, but it’s easier to use a Windows laptop equipped with an AMD or Intel chip.
Nevertheless, the initial results of the Snapdragon X Elite are positive. We’re all the more impatient to get our hands on the first PCs equipped to see for ourselves if we can finally discover Windows putting a real foot in this transformation that has been so successful for Apple.
Source : Qualcomm